Competition in poker business is a good thing

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One week before it opened, we visited the new 52-table poker room at Maryland Live Casino just minutes away from Baltimore-Washington International Airport. It was every bit as nice as we expected it to be, and to no one’s surprise, crowds started forming hours before the room opened and likely have kept the room bustling even as you read this column.

After visiting Maryland Live, we embarked on an epic roadtrip to visit poker rooms in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia, and at each stop, the conversation at some point turned to the new kid on the block in Maryland and what effect it might have on the overall region, and what effect next year’s expected opening of Horseshoe Baltimore will have as well.

Poker players should always root for competition because, just as in any business, the more options customers have, the more aggressive those options get in letting you know how much they want your business.

But poker is a peculiar business in that simply being in business doesn’t necessarily benefit poker players. To that end, all players in the Mid-Atlantic region, or all players who plan to visit the region, should hope Maryland Live’s emergence helps grow the overall poker market, not simply cannibalize it. With online poker soon debuting in Delaware and in New Jersey, there’s plenty of optimism that this particular region will, in fact, grow.

And that’s what all of us should want.

We’ll see you at the tables.

— Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long, Ante Up Publishers